And the hot heart healer
Is a sweet street feeler
And a wild wet wheeler
The pink prince of failures
Is a spoiled sea sailor
With terns and whalers
I don’t know what’s going on in this song with its oceanic imagery and references to anchors and shipwrecks, but it sounds massive. It’s no secret that Will Scheff digs that Phil Spector/Brian Wilson wall of sound, and his interpolation of “Sloop John B” (“John Allyn Smith Sails”) is my all-time favorite Okkervil River song.
The greatest praise that I can give to the first Roky Erickson album in fifteen years is that if you listen to it without an inclination of the man, his past, and his inner demons, you’ll find it a worthy collection of alt-country originals that please the ear and comfort the soul.
Of course, for those of you that do know about the man, his past, and those inner demons, True Love Cast Out All Evil becomes that much more of an impressive achievement. If you’ve ever seen the documentary on Erickson, You’re Gonna Miss Me, the new record may even come as a relief, as it may be his first release that finally finds him at peace with himself.
We released our review of The Stand Ins earlier today, but we just saw the press release about Okkervil River‘s current tour. Their goal is to make the national tour “completely carbon neutral” by encouraging fans not to drive to their shows. According to an uncited statistic in the press release, “80% of a tour’s CO2 emissions are created by fans commuting to the show.”
The band hopes to cover the remaining 20% by selling stickers for $2 which will be used to “offset 300 pounds of CO2 emissions.” Interesting idea. If they were super hardcore, they’d bike themselves from show to show, lugging their gear behind them in one of those Burley trailers.
I got a chance to see Okkervil River last year during the tour for The Stage Names. It was in a dingy club and there may have been a little over than a hundred patrons there that evening.
“We’re starting off with our best foot forward, ladies and gentlemen.”
And with that proclamation, Will Sheff led the band off into a great rendition of “Plus Ones.” Throughout the evening Sheff strummed away on a ratty acoustic guitar and looked every bit the tortured artist that The Stage Names and its more recent companion album The Stand Ins lyrically alludes to.
I had a bad attitude about Lollapalooza this year. I was not looking forward to it at all. I’ve covered Lollapalooza for Glorious Noise each year since the festival was resurrected in Chicago in 2005. Between Lolla and Forkfest, I was thinking I might just be festivaled out.
My wife’s advice as I left on Friday: “Don’t be old—be fun.”
Which sounds a lot harder than it actually turned out to be. Once I let go of some of my uptightness and decided to just roll with it, I ended up having a great weekend. Free your mind, and your ass will follow, right? Surprisingly, I think the lack of bands that I needed to see helped me relax and just enjoy myself.
Not to say that there weren’t a ton of great bands playing this year. There were, but I’ve seen most of them recently. At Lollapalooza two years ago. Or at Pitchfork last year. Or both.
The only downfall about 2007 is that there have already been so many contenders for album of the year, it’s going to be downright sad when the winner is eventually is named. There’s going to be a plethora of runner ups that you’ll probably wished were number one, depending on the day.
Okkervil River’s fourth album, The Stage Names, is my pick for album of the year at this moment. While my pick may still change this year, this album has all of the qualifications of an album worthy of that title.